Mike Dunne, Director of the UK Science & Technology Facilities Council Photon Science Department and leader of the HiPER project, will move to the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in June. Dunne will be Program Director for Fusion Energy systems, working for program director Ed Moses at NIF. Dunne will be in charge of the Laser Inertial Fusion Energy (LIFE) program.
Dunne told SPIE he will start at LLNL on 8 June. "I am incredibly excited at the prospect of leading the effort at LLNL to establish a viable path to fusion energy based on the anticipated results from the National Ignition Facility," he said. "Achievement of ignition on the NIF will be the seminal moment in the 50-year research effort on fusion. Internationally, everyone is looking to the NIF over the next couple of years, and are establishing plans for how to move forward from this event."
He added that the time was right for the move, having spent five years building the HiPER team. Dunne said his goal is to help ensure the fastest possible delivery of laser fusion energy. "I believe that international efforts in this area will become increasingly coordinated. The question is quickly moving from asking whether laser fusion can be made a reality, into asking who will deliver the final step."
HiPER (the European High Power Laser Energy Research Facility) is a project with the goal of establishing a clear path to a commercially viable laser fusion power plant, building on the anticipated result of experiments at the National Ignition Facility. Dunne discusses HiPER in a recent video available from SPIE Newsroom.
Dunne was also a plenary speaker at the recent SPIE Photonics Europe symposium in Brussels, Belgium.
LIFE program webpage at LLNL